Thursday, November 3, 2011

Autumn Corn Planting

True to harvest time, the recently harvested corn has begun to sprout at Hearthstone.

The lower school planted sprouted kernels in small pots that can, in time, be transferred into the ground.

Max, one of the students in Ms. Linda's first and second grade class, gave his newly planted sprouted kernel a ride on the swing before he went upstairs to check on the corn form drawings the class completed earlier that day on the chalkboard.

As the weather cools, the students of Hearthstone enjoy these fleeting sunny and brisk days.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Julian's Review of the New Orleans Trip

Hearthstone School's High School lent their time and energy in early April to help repair New Orleans after it was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Even after so long, the city is still in pieces, so the St. Bernard project was happy to see young Waldorf students from across the country come down to Louisiana to help rebuild, replant, and renew New Orleans. Hearthstone's group began by planting Cypress trees to jumpstart the ecosystem after hundreds of trees were washed away in the flood waters. We then continued on to rebuild homes that were demolished and still hadn't been reoccupied by their former owners. On our off time, our group went to one of Nola's signature music festivals taking place during the French Quarter Festival, where we ate local Cajun food, and mingled with the locals to grasp the rich culture that still engulfed the city. I enjoyed helping people overcome the scars Katrina had left on the city. Hopefully, what we did will help to continue paving the road to recovery. New Orleans will always have a special meaning to me and my class.

John's New Orleans Review

On April 6-12 Hearthstone's High School went to New Orleans to help out by replanting native plants after many ecosystems were severely damaged by the salty flood waters after Katrina. Our group also rebuilt homes for the people that had to leave during hurricane Katrina and returned to damaged but repairable homes. While we were in New Orleans it was amazing to see how many homes are still not lived in because of the damage Katrina caused five and half years ago. The first task Hearthstone had was to replant the Cypress Trees that were heavily harvested in the 1900s and then almost wiped out by Katrina's flood waters washing them away. Thursday we helped rebuild a house near the Mississippi River in the Irish Channel District. There we had all kinds of work to do, such as: trim work, painting, caulking, and installing doors. The lady that lost the house has not been living in it for almost six years. Just about every night the High School went down town New Orleans to watch the wonderful music and enjoy the food. The overall trip was a great experience.

The highlight of my trip was the swamp tour. It was nice to be in the Louisiana backcountry and swamps. Seeing the the alligators and riding on the boat was a lot of fun.

Hearthstone High School Students Give Back to the Community

Written by: Sierra Fleming

Three of Hearthstone’s high school students, John Casper, Josh Casper and Julian Bauchspies joined the Sperryville Rescue Squad in the winter of 2010. The three said, “Joining has given us a higher sense of purpose”. John joined after being inspired by his uncle who had previously worked in fire and rescue. Julian and Josh joined to give back to the community and for a good lifetime experience. To join the rescue squad they all had to pass a CPR class which allows them to participate in writing information on the patient and helping superiors on scene. John shared that “I like the excitement and adrenalin rush that I feel when leaving the station on a call”. This amazing experience has motivated Josh and John to go into fire fighting and Julian to become a paramedic and continue rescue as a profession.

Sierra's New Orleans Review

My name is Sierra Fleming. I am a Hearthstone high school student. This is my perspective on the trip to New Orleans.

On April 6, 2011 Hearthstone’s high school left Virginia to indulge themselves in the city of New Orleans. We toured the city, observed the culture and worked with the Saint Bernard’s Project on rebuilding homes that were damaged in Katrina. My most enjoyable learning experience was when we toured the wetlands. It was mind blowing when we learned that so much of the wetlands were disappearing. The Louisiana marsh land is like no other. Their wetlands are home to some of the most unique plant life and animal habitats. That is one of the reasons it is so important that people all over the world lend a hand to help recover lost wetlands. I look forward to going back to New Orleans and experiencing it all over again.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Josh's New Orleans Reflection

My name is Josh Casper. I am eighteen years old, and am a high school student at Hearthstone School.

This year for our service trip we went to New Orleans and this is what I thought about our trip.

April 6 we left Reagan National Airport from Washington D.C. and at arrived in the Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans that afternoon. The first two days our class gave a helping hand to the people affected by Hurricane Katrina who lost their homes. All the students and teachers helped rebuild two houses that were destroyed by Katrina. When we were not working our group went into downtown New Orleans to experience the culture of the city through their music, food and people.

My favorite part of the trip was seeing Glen David Andrews and Amanda Shaw play at the French Quarter Festival Friday night. The Glen David Andrews Band was a lot of fun because they had people of all ages playing with them, including: an 11 year old drummer and a 13 year old rapper. In the middle of the show Glen David Andrews crowd surfed all the way to where we were standing, so I had to help get him back to the stage while he surfed the crowd.

Another one of my favorite things about this trip was rebuilding the houses. I know it meant a lot to those people who have been out of their homes for the past five years.

The last thing I really liked about our trip was the swamp tour. Being able to experience the Louisiana swamps and rivers was a great experience. Seeing live alligators in the wild was the most exciting part of the swamp tour. I would definitely do the swamp tour again.

Hearthstone high school students lend a helping hand in New Orleans

April 19, 2011

Contributed by the Hearthstone Journalism Class

On April 6, Hearthstone high school students Julian Bauchspies, Sierra Fleming, John Casper and Josh Casper all departed on a service trip to New Orleans, Louisiana with teachers Aron Weisgerber and Elizabeth Shaw, and school director Jane Mullan. The group’s travel expenses were paid for by a grant from the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. The students were awarded the grant due to their willingness to help in the rebuilding efforts in New Orleans. The city is still in healing from Katrina, the hurricane that devastated the area five and a half years ago. The students raised money for the New Orleans service trip through beeswax candle sales (made by Sierra), bake sales (through the culinary arts class), serving food at the open mic at Hearthstone in March, and by donations from families and friends of Hearthstone School.

The Hearthstone group’s rebuilding efforts included working with the St. Bernard Project, located in the St. Bernard Parish, an area that was under water for six weeks after the levees broke. While working there the students planted trees to help re-establish important eco-systems that were washed away in the flood waters. The students spackled and painted walls, did trim work, caulked, did frame work, and installed doors and windows in the homes of two women who have been out of their homes for five and a half years. They were both examples of people in the parish who had cancelled their flood insurance one year prior to the levees breaking. Many others found themselves without flood insurance after the levees broke for the same reason: FEMA changed the guidelines for residents in the St. Bernard Parish in 2004; the government no longer mandated that all residences of the parish must have flood insurance. Since the parish was a generally low-income neighborhood many residents cancelled their insurance to put food on the table.

While in New Orleans the students also helped rebuild the Waldorf School of New Orleans in their new location, located on higher ground, in the Irish Channel District. The group also had the opportunity to experience real Cajun culture by attending a shrimp and crawfish boil, attending the French Quarter Music Festival, and taking a swamp tour in Slidell, Louisiana.

The final day in New Orleans was spent touring the waterways, marshes, bayous, diversions and levees with a cooperative extension agent from Louisiana State University. On our tour we learned how important the wetlands of Louisiana are to hurricane protection for New Orleans, and how important those wetlands are to the entire country. We learned that the swamps and marshes of coastal Louisiana are among the Nation's most fragile and valuable wetlands, vital not only to recreational and agricultural interests but also the state's more than $1 billion per year seafood industry. Human activities as well as natural processes cause the staggering annual losses of wetlands in Louisiana. It is estimated, by Louisiana State University, that Louisiana loses its wetlands at the rate of one football field per every 38 minutes.

The extension agent also showed us where the levees broke in the lower 9th ward and told us stories of how fast the water rose and what the people in the neighborhood heard and felt when the destruction began. The lower 9th ward was the most heavily devastated area of New Orleans once the floodwaters began to rise. The “X”s still spray-painted on the outside of many of the houses that were not washed away in the flood served as a constant reminder of the devastation that Katrina and her aftermath caused. The “X”s were spray-painted by search and rescue groups to indicate when they checked a house, how many people were found inside each house alive or dead, and which rescue group checked each house.

“You could really feel the unity and the love the people of New Orleans developed since the catastrophic flooding and hurricane in 2005. It is evident in the way the locals greet each other, the songs they sing, and the way they remember those who were lost in the storm’s aftermath,” reflects Hearthstone teacher Elizabeth Shaw.

According to high school student Josh Casper, “It was a great learning experience, and possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity although I have high hopes of returning to New Orleans in the future to help with the rebuilding and experience the culture all over again.”

Amanda Shaw & The Glen David Andrews Band at the FQMF

Great Blue Heron on Swamp Tour in Slidell, LA

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Have a Dream, Too

Today the nation observes the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. His true birthdate is January 15, 1929. He is one of the most celebrated and influential people in our country's history. He played a major role in the Civil Rights movement in the United States from the late 1950s until his assassination on April 4, 1968. He died for the rights of African Americans, and he died to set us all free from the bondage of hate and inequality. One of his most notable speeches was given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. The day of August 28, 1963 at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Over 250,000 people attended the march.

In observance of Dr. King, each student in our class wrote their own version of the "I Have a Dream" speech. Below is a copy of one speech, written by Trusten Murrah, age 10.

I Have a Dream, Too

"I have a dream that one day this nation will treat other nations like friends.
I have a dream that one day the world will solve a problem without violence.
I have a dream that one day the world will be at peace.
I have a dream that we will look to other countries for help not war.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day we will use words instead of weapons.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day we will worry about the next generation instead of war.
This is my hope and faith. With this faith we will be able to live in this world without war.
This will be the day when love fills the world."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Spring Outdoor Program

The Outdoor Program took place last May in the George Washington National Forest, in Fort Valley, Virginia. Attendees included Hearthstone School teachers and students from grades three through eleven. The highlights of the program included fishing, rock climbing, hiking, orienteering, and camping.

The outdoor program was designed and led by Aron Weisgerber, a teacher at Hearthstone School. This is what he had to say about the experience this past spring: “The location was very diverse, giving us the opportunity to practice and hone multiple skills, including rock climbing, wild food preparation, and primitive camping skills, within a small national forest. The orienteering exercise was very beneficial for the students and overall I think that the location and exercises we completed were successful.”

Weaving Fibers: a Family Tradition and Way of Life in Oaxaca, Mexico

On October 13, fiber artist Wence Martinez, from Oaxaca, Mexico came to Hearthstone School and presented a slide show and lecture on weaving wool. Mr. Martinez taught us about sheering sheep for wool, spinning wool, growing cacti to farm the bug, cochineal, for red dye, other natural dyes, using looms, and weaving wool rugs and ponchos. Wence Martinez wasborn in 1959 in Teotitlan del Villa, Oaxaca, Mexico. He is a full Zapotec Indian. He began weaving under his grandfather and father’s instruction. In 1974 he entered the National Institute of Weaving in Mexico City with a scholarship. In the late 70’s he did weaving and paintings of Edmundo Aquino in his private studio. The year of 1988 he met an artist named Sandra; they would spend their lives together. From 1994 to the present Wence and Sandra have run the Martinez studio in Jacksonport, Wisconsin where they both have their works on display.

Winter Ski Lessons

Each January Hearthstone School attends a ski program, which lasts for six weeks at Massanutten Ski Resort in the Shenandoah Valley. The ski program includes skiing and snowboarding lessons, lift passes, and equipment rentals.

Massanutten has fourteen slopes. The shortest ski slope is called Nutten-To-It, which is 800 feet long and perfect for the beginner. The longest ski slope is called ParaDice, it is 4,100 feet long, and is categorized as a black diamond slope, which means it is one of the most difficult slopes to traverse.

Seed Saving Field Experience

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is a local seed saver catalog that offers many varieties of heirloom, non-genetically modified, and/or organic seeds that grow well in the mid-Atlantic region as well as other latitudes that are comparable. The middle grades through high school went to their farm and office for a special tour and discussion with Paul Blundell, co-manager of SouthernExposure Seed Exchange.

Paul explained the different varieties of seeds they sell through their catalog. We had lunch, then we toured the property with River, who showed us the gardens that contained different varieties of tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, greens, and cabbage. There are around 23 people who live and work at SESE. It was an educational and fun field trip, we learned a lot about the importance of seed saving. We hope to use some of the skills and ideas learned at SESE at Hearthstone in our gardens in the future.

History Field Trip to Montpelier

Last April the Hearthstone middle and high school students travelled to Montpelier, the home of former President and Founding Father, James Madison and his wife Dolley. After touring the home our group was given the opportunity to observe an archaeological dig located on the property of Montpelier, conducted by the archaeology department of James Madison University. There were hands-on activities located across the property. The students conducted their own archaeological dig, then toured the archaeology laboratory. They were able to do handwork that was common in the early nineteenth century, such as sharpening hand tools, woodworking, and blacksmithing.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

In September the middle and high school students took a field trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the National Museum of Natural History. The purpose of the field trip was to view the ancient mummies from Egypt and the various ancient Greek artifacts on exhibit for a limited time. This field trip enriched the learning experiences of each student by giving them an opportunity to see actual mummies and actual ancient Greek artifacts. Seeing the rare mummies may have been a once in a lifetime experience for the students and teachers.

Fundraising Efforts at Hearthstone

Hearthstone School holds fundraising opportunities and events throughout the year including bulb sale, auction, holiday bazaar, organic chocolate, boxtops, grocery stores, cartridges for kids, annual appeal letter. Last year Hearthstone School began a fundraising challenge in which an anonymous donor offered to match up to $50,000 of raised funds for our school. We met that goal. Each year we have succeeded in our fundraising efforts. This school year we must raise $100,000 to keep our school thriving.